On December 2, 2019, the Timber Framers Guild purchased Heartwood (established in 1978) from Michele and Will Beemer. Through their many long years of stewardship, Michele and Will created what is an institution within the timber framing community. Dedicated to craft and to excellence in teaching the building arts and open to young and old and men and women alike from all walks of life, they brought their skill, intelligence, generosity of spirit, and a commitment to improving the quality of the built environment and people’s lives. Over four decades, they have taught thousands of students about timber framing and other building arts, leaving an indelible mark on not only on the students but on timber framing as well. Over these same years, Will and Michele have also played seminal roles in the establishment and success of the Timber Framers Guild and the revival of timber framing in North America, thereby touching the lives of thousands of people in our community.
Thus, it is fitting that the Guild will be entrusted with the continuation of their life’s work and legacy. The Guild is committed to robust, student-centered education and training in the inspiring, forested environment of the Heartwood School – a personality in its own right – and the transition from the Beemers to the Guild will be smooth and almost transparent. Will continues to teach the timber framing courses, along with Dave Carlon, Neil Godden, Brad Morse, and continued cameo appearances by Jack Sobon and others who have long participated as instructors. No time frame has been determined on Will’s retirement, but we do expect he will not hang up his instructor’s cap for several years.
Our programs will continue to be designed to be useful for the experienced builders who wish to expand their skills and deepen their understanding of design and construction as well as those just starting their pursuit of these skills. Heartwood’s appeal to teachers, truck drivers, architects, social workers, retirees, real estate agents, high school students, and others - many of whom have had little or no previous construction experience - will not change. Neither will our diverse student community comprised of people sharing a common goal in its determination to connect minds, eyes, and hands in seamless harmony to craft beautiful objects, both large and small, with which to enrich their lives.
This determination to become an active creator of your environment expresses your care for the life that will happen within it and is the same spirit referred to by poet Gary Snyder when he advised in his book Turtle Island, “Find your place on the planet and dig in.” Heartwood will continue to be here to give you the tools to do just that.
2020 Course Offerings at Heartwood:
July 6-31: Timber Framing Intensive
August 3-7: Scribed Timber Framing
August 10-14: Timber Framing
August 17-20: Basics of Building
August 19-20: Building an Earthen Bake Oven
August 24-28: Timber Framing
August 31 - September 4: Cruck Framing
September 14-18: Converting Trees to Timber
September 21-25: Complex Roof Framing
September 28-30: Timber Frame Design & Joinery Decisions
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